Native to South-East Asia, the tiger mosquito is a great traveler who has already conquered a hundred countries around the world. No wonder he is playing with the borders that cross the Lake Geneva region, where it is spreading. Allies within the Geneva Council, the cantons of Geneva, Vaud and Valais as well as the French departments of Ain and Haute-Savoie have decided to collaborate to counter its proliferation, as they announced during a virtual press conference on Tuesday June 1st.
Discovered in France in 2004, the tiger mosquito has been present since 2015 in Ain and Haute Savoie. It has been gaining ground there for several years, particularly in the Pays de Gex. In Switzerland, this small-sized Diptera (it is smaller than the common mosquito and bears black stripes) was first identified in Ticino in 2003, before spreading to the regions of Basel and Zurich. Last year, he was spotted in the canton of Geneva and in the Chablais Valais.
Empty saucers and watering cans
“The tiger mosquito has a potential for nuisance because it is aggressive and bites during the day. But above all, it represents a health threat since it can transmit infectious diseases such as the zika virus, chikungunya or even dengue, ”explains Honorary Professor of the University of Lausanne Daniel Chérix, of the Swiss Mosquito Network. For a mosquito to transmit the disease, it must first have bitten an infected person, which is unlikely as these diseases are not present in Europe, but can happen if the mosquito encounters an infected person, thus return from a trip to the tropics.
On video: The hunt for the tiger mosquito in French-speaking Switzerland
To prevent this from happening, and giving rise to local epidemics, the residents of Lake Geneva are invited to adopt common preventive measures. People who have gardens and balconies should be careful to empty watering cans, reservoirs and other water saucers there, as the female mosquito can lay her eggs there. If you spot the tiger mosquito, it is recommended to report its presence to specialists, so that control measures can be put in place.
If you find a tiger mosquito, you can report it on mosquitoes-suisse.ch for Switzerland or on signalement-moustique.fr for France.